Latics will keep Kirkland - Martinez

28 October 2010 11:38
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has no fears about the possibility of goalkeeper Chris Kirkland looking for a transfer in January.

The Spaniard believes Kirkland will continue to be a "very important asset" for the club.

Kirkland has found himself on the bench for much of this season after conceding 10 goals in the Latics' opening two Premier League games and struggling with injury.

Ali Al Habsi has taken his place in goal, but with the on-loan Bolton stopper ineligible to play against his parent club last weekend, Kirkland made his first appearance since August.

Al Habsi came straight back into the starting XI for Tuesday night's 2-0 win over Swansea in the Carling Cup, though, and reports have suggested Kirkland may be considering his future at the DW Stadium.

However, when asked if he was worried the 29-year-old might leave Wigan in the next transfer window, Martinez said: "No, not at all.

"What Chris Kirkland has done for this club, he has earned the respect of everybody here and outside.

"What is important is that he needs to be 100%, injury free and a big influence around the place, like he is.

"Playing or not playing, that is just an incident of the moment. Maybe in two weeks he will be playing, and then we will have been talking for no reason.

"He is a big member of the squad and a very important asset for Wigan Athletic, and that will carry on."

Martinez is just delighted to have more than one goalkeeper vying for the starting spot.

"We all saw how well Chris did when he came in and played against Bolton and obviously now we have very healthy competition," the Spaniard said.

"Ali has got the position at the moment and Chris is putting on a lot of pressure, and that is the kind of healthy competition that you want in a squad.

"But I think there has been a lot of talk. Things have been very clear with Ali, Chris, Mike Pollitt and myself - football makes the decision.

"It is important on a daily basis that we have got those standards, that competition is developing at the training ground and that we carry on like this, in every position in the squad."

Source: Team_Talk